Tuesday Thoughts

Posted: Tuesday, November 29, 2011 by Travis Cody in
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I have a couple of thoughts to share on this last November Tuesday.

Before the holiday break, one of the women I work with passed her US citizenship test and participated in a ceremony to become a naturalized citizen of the United States.  Unless you know someone who has done that, I don't think you can understand how important it is to the individual, and how truly proud they are.

I admit that I take for granted some things about living free in this country.  Not a lot...I was raised to understand my civic duty and contribute to the health and well being of my community.  But sometimes I lose track of how easy it is to walk out of the home I own, get into the vehicle I own, drive a couple of blocks to the grocery store, and pick up just about anything I feel like eating in that moment.

I appreciate the history and the people who have made it possible for me to do stuff like that.  But that isn't the first thing I think of when I want a pizza, you know?

I'm rambling a bit.  I get to be a citizen of this country by accident of birth.  My colleague chose it, worked for it, and earned it.  I have profound respect for her.

The other thought I have today is frustration with people who throw the First Amendment around like a shield against consequences.  The text of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution reads this way...

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Nowhere in that passage does it say anything about relieving any person or persons of the consequences of what they say.  So exercise your right to speak your mind.  But be aware and prepared that someone may just decide to exercise their right to object to what you say and speak their mind about it.

If you can accept that someone can say what they want in response to what you say, then you truly understand and respect the spirit of the First Amendment.  If you can also see that the amendment protects speech from government interference and censure, then you truly understand and respect the actual purpose of First Amendment.

So...citizenship, rights, consequences, and responsibility.  I guess those are some pretty good thoughts to have on a Tuesday, or on any day.

8 comments:

  1. Akelamalu says:

    One thing that annoys me is the people who have settled here using the right to 'free speech' to criticize this country that gave it to them. :(

    Congratulations to your colleague on earning citizenship.

  1. Ivanhoe says:

    Congrats!!!! I know exactly how (s)he feels and what that means. Got mine in 2008 :)

  1. Definitely so. And something most of us need reminding about at times.

  1. Congrats to your colleague. I know someone who did the same thing this summer and her ceremony was as close to July 4th as they could get it. I know she appreciates it very much. I would just add that folks have free speach until they commit slander (or libel). I don't like those misuses of 'free speech.' Anyway, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  1. Jean says:

    How wonderful! Please pass on my congrats to your co-workers!

  1. Cherie says:

    You are so right. Both about the awesomeness of citizenship in the country -- and how those of us born with it often don't appreciate it, and the responsibilities of "free speech." One person has the right to say what they want, and another has the right to respond. Right On! :)

  1. I have never known someone who has selected to become a citizen of this great country, but it truly must be a wonderful experience. My grandparents came here to find better lives. I am glad they did.

    As far as free speech, it HAS to work both ways. Whether to criticize an institution or a person who you believe is making the wrong decisions. BUT then, expect to have that same right of free speech used against you also.

    It also does not include slander, and some feel it does...WRONG

  1. I was just a child when my father was sworn in, and I wasn't present to witness it. The youngest of all of my older sisters was sworn in just last year (after living in this country for 50 years), but again I was not there to witness the event because it happened rather suddenly, and I couldn't get to Florida in time. That said, because of my family's history, these things are incredibly momentous in our family. I wish I had been there with my sister; I'm sure it would have been a very moving, emotional experience.